If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Monday, 17 October 2011

No-one will notice, no-one will care ...

... when the staff of TV Licensing go on strike today.

More than 500 staff at sites in Darwen, Lancashire, and Bristol will strike after a ballot by members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU).

The CWU said workers had been offered a below inflation pay rise of 2.6%, following a two-year pay freeze.

Employers Capita said workers had received a "good and fair offer" in light of the economic climate.

So far, so usual. Union thinks rich bosses should share proceeds of ill-gotten gain with downtrodden workers. Employer thinks pay offer is extremely fair in the current circumstances and the union should butt out.

CWU, consider this: Capita won't budge. They have a history of not budging. The only chance you have is for the general public to rise up and demand that Capita renegotiate, a bit like they do when they can't get to work, or when their bins aren't emptied, or when Grandad stays unburied.

I can guarantee that people will not mind in the slightest if they cannot pay for their TV licence. In fact, they may well be overjoyed. The BBC may well portray it otherwise, for obvious reasons, but no-one else in the UK will either notice or care that you haven't turned up for work today.


And, by the way, in the UK, at least ...

'Licence' - noun - I forgot to get my TV licence.

'License' - verb -I forgot to license my TV.

If you get mixed up, remember advise/advice. It's the same issue, but as they sound different it's easier to remember. Practise/practice and prophesy/propecy too, although that's a little more obscure.

Don't thank me. All part of the service.


  1. If you get mixed up, remember advise/advice.

    I use that, too, and suggested it to two secretaries who were having problems with practice/practise. I wasn't expecting the reply "Err, what's the difference between advice and advise?"

  2. @patently, careful or they will do you for lowering their self esteem which is tantamount to assault these days.

    I doubly don't care since I don't pay telly-tax but the workers at Capita could do themselves a favour by getting a better job and Capita could do us all a favour by going bust as a result.
    (Sorry, is that a corporate hate crime?).

  3. And, Herr Doktor Professor, how/why did 'license'/'practise' and 'licence'/'practice' end up different? It seems weird - but consistently weird.

  4. @Derf. It was just the Americans to be different from the former Colonial Power trying to prove their ability to survive without us, same reason they drive on the wrong and illogical side of the road.

  5. "Weird - but consistently weird." Pretty much sums up the English language, although I am not 100% sure about the consistently bit.

    I honestly don't know how they came to be spelt differently - I woukld imagine it's a reflection of the differing pronunciations ice/ize, although that doesn't work in every case.

    It is comforting to note that Shakespeare spelt his name 16 different ways, and none of them were 'Shakespeare'.

    One of the depressing things about trying to help people out with simple spelling and stuff at work is not that people don't know, it's that they don't see why they should know. It's a bit like Latin - admirable to know about, but has no relevance to what we are doing. And I am talking about senior management, not the Saturday girl with a charming smile but no qualifications.

  6. "... but no-one else in the UK will either notice or care that you haven't turned up for work today."

    Bit like this strike then..?

  7. Well, exactly - that was the first I had heard of it!

    The country failed to grind to a halt, as I recall.

  8. Richard - I read this, this afternoon while I was chilling out after returning from the bacci cruise to Belgium that Smoking Hot organised.

    I live in Darwen so I got in the car and drove straight down to the TV licensing building in the hope of finding a picket that I could harass.

    There was no body there. They must all have been at home with their feet up watching the BBC.

    Lazy buggers (Unless I got there too late??)

  9. Bucko, that's 10 bonus points for commitment. If you had found a picketing striker (or a striking picket, who knows) you could have told them how much you supported them, and how they ought to hold out for as long as possible. Even to the point where their employer went out of business. That it would be a positive action for the cause, and Ed Miliband would be pleased. (On a related matter, I hear that the number of strikes is down partly because unions aren't so willing these days to give out strike pay. Not surprising when you see what the union bosses earn - but I thought strike pay was one of the main reasons the union movement started?)

  10. Richard - That was part of the plan. Offer my support and reasons for it, then ask for comments.
    I feel a bit silly doing stuff like that because I only have a mobile phone to film it on. I've been trying on ebay to get a huge, old style VHS video camera, the type that you have to rest on your shoulder for filming coppers or something like this. Something you can really get in peoples faces with. Trouble is it's hard finding something that still has a useable battery.

    The last time I tried something similar was when the EDL came to Blacburn and I went to film the coppers tactics. I screwed up and ended up getting kettled for hours with all the demonstrators. It's a learning curve :-)

    I did get a good vid of a police horse pushing me back though.

    As for the unions I think they've gone the same way as the charities - outgrown their original remit

  11. 500 staff? What are they all doing? Capita must be longing for a chance to shed at least 300 of them.

  12. I suspect by striking they are about to make a public and painful demonstration of the Law of Unintended Consequences. A national rail strike it ain't.


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